Is it Fair to Deport Veterans who Break the Law?
As Congress continues to work on immigration reform, one group left out of the debate consists of U.S. military veterans who have been deported for breaking the law.
Many who have served in the armed forces over the years were not American citizens, but permanent legal residents. Some of them have been kicked out of the country after committing serious offenses, which federal immigration law requires. In many cases, the offenses were drug-related and many were non-violent crimes.
There are no official records revealing how many ex-warriors fall into this category. Immigration lawyers and Banished Veterans, which assists such deportees, say hundreds, if not thousands, have been sent packing in recent years.
These advocates argue that it is not fair to deport those who have fought for the United States. If they break the law, yes, have them serve time in prison. But don’t banish them from the country they now consider home.
This position is shared by Retired Air Force General Richard B. Myers, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. Myers told The Washington Post that deporting veterans “is not fair, and it’s not appropriate for who we are as a people.”
“One thing America has always done is revere its veterans,” he said. “To say to them, ‘You swore to support and defend the Constitution and put your life on the line for the rest of us. But you’re not a citizen. So, too bad. You’re gone.’ I just think that’s not us.”
To Learn More:
Deported Veterans: Banished for Committing Crimes after Serving in the U.S. Military (by Kevin Sullivan, Washington Post)
Deported Veterans want an Opportunity to Come Home (by Griselda Nevarez, VOXXI)
U.S. Veterans Deported after they Served (by Cindy Carcamo, Orange County Register)
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